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Climb the Sky Tower for panoramic city views, hike the lava tubes of Rangitoto or hop over to Waiheke for a wine-tasting tour for a taste of one of New Zealand’s most famous and delicious products. You’re never short of things to see, do, eat and drink in Auckland.
North Island’s Auckland is the largest and most populous city in New Zealand, and as a multi-cultural city, it boasts the largest Polynesian population in the world.
The Maori word for Auckland is Tamaki, or Tamaki-makau-rau, which means “Tamaki with a hundred lovers,” referring to the fertile land and the meeting of different waterways in the region.
The city is spread across two harbours, a paint splatter of islands and a surging landscape, which ranges from the extinct volcanic crater of Pukekawa in Auckland Domain (the country’s oldest park), to the pretty seaside promenade of Mission Bay Beach.
As New Zealand’s largest urban expanse, it’s easy to see why Auckland is so often mistaken for the country’s capital.
On the flip side, the nation’s busiest metropolis is also home to a buffet of breathtaking natural wonders, from rainforests to thermal hot springs to dramatic coastline with gorgeous beaches.
Auckland must-dos include exploration of the fertile wine and food-producing regions (particularly Waiheke, the so-called “island of wine”), an eco-safari around Hauraki Gulf Marine Park for encounters with whales and dolphins, and a wonder-wander through the collection of contemporary sculptures on the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail.
Where else on Earth can you sip cocktails at the Hilton before heading out to Hobbiton? Or bungee jump from the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere, then paddle in the waves of isolated Karekare Beach and its nearby rainforest waterfalls?
In Auckland, you’re never more than an hour away from stunning natural beauty or the comfort of your high street hotel room.
The incredible mix of vibrant city life and lush landscapes have awarded this place a bronze medal as the third most liveable city in the world and with so much on offer, it’s easy to see why people find it so difficult to leave.
Peak season is New Zealand’s summer (December, January and February), where prices and visitor numbers increase, while winter (June, July and August) sees temperatures and tourist numbers drop off. Therefore, the best times to visit are the shoulder seasons, from March to May and September to November.
Each region in New Zealand has its own Anniversary Day, which celebrates the founding of the original provinces with agricultural shows, local fayres and novelty events. Northland’s official Anniversary Day is 29th January, though it is often observed on the nearest Monday or Friday to create a long weekend. There’s always plenty of things going on in Auckland, from January’s Tamaki Herenga Waka Festival to Auckland Pride in February to June’s Boutique Wine Festival.
Located on the more accessible North Island and as one of the New Zealand’s major hubs, Auckland features at the start or end of many of our suggested itineraries. However, if you’d like to add more time in Auckland to your tailor made New Zealand tour, then let us know and we can arrange this for you.
Our itinerary stops in Auckland include stays at the Hilton Auckland on the Princess Wharf or Hotel DeBrett. The Hilton offers a luxury stay with a nautical twist, as the cruise-ship-like property juts out to sea and provides gorgeous views of the harbour. Meanwhile, historic Hotel DeBrett is Art Deco elegance, with a 1920s vibe and décor that harks back to its flapper roots.